Front page of the Le Figaro, 30 January 2014.
|Founded||15 January 1826|
Le Figaro (French pronunciation: [lə fiɡaʁo]) is a French daily newspaper of record founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is often compared to its main competitor, Le Monde. Its editorial line is conservative. It is also the oldest national newspaper in France.
Le Figaro was founded as a satirical weekly in 1826, taking its name and motto from Le Mariage de Figaro, a play by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais that poked fun at privilege. Its motto, from Figaro's monologue in the play's final act, is "Sans la liberté de blâmer, il n'est point d'éloge flatteur" ("Without the freedom to criticise, there is no true praise"). It was published somewhat irregularly until 1854, when it was taken over by Hippolyte de Villemessant.
By 1866, it had gained the greatest circulation of any newspaper in France. Its first daily edition, that of 16 November 1866, sold 56,000 copies. Albert Wolff, Émile Zola, Alphonse Karr and Jules Claretie were among the paper's early contributors. In 1833, editor Nestor Roqueplan fought a duel with a Colonel Gallois, who was offended by an article in Le Figaro, and was wounded but recovered. On 16 March 1914, Gaston Calmette, the editor of Le Figaro, was assassinated by Henriette Caillaux, the wife of Finance Minister Joseph Caillaux, after he published a letter that cast serious doubt on her husband's integrity. In 1922, Le Figaro was purchased by perfume millionaire François Coty. Abel Faivre did cartoons for the paper.
In 1975, Le Figaro was bought by Robert Hersant's Socpresse. In 1999, the Carlyle Group obtained a 40% stake in the paper, which it later sold in March 2002. Since March 2004 Le Figaro has been controlled by Serge Dassault, a conservative businessman and politician best known for running the aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, which he inherited from his father, its founder, Marcel (1892–1986). Dassault has 80% of the paper.
Le Figaro has published The New York Times International Weekly on Friday since 2009, an 8-page supplement featuring a selection of articles from The New York Times translated into French. In 2010, Lefigaro.fr created a section called Le Figaro in English, which provides the global English-speaking community with daily original or translated content from Le Figaro’s website. The section ended in 2012.
Controversy about editorial independence
Controversial both inside and outside the newspaper is its ownership by a person who also controls a major military supplier, as well as being a mayor and senator from the Union for a Popular Movement party, whose son Olivier Dassault is a member of the French National Assembly for the same party. In response, Dassault remarked in an interview on the public radio station France Inter, that "newspapers must promulgate healthy ideas" and that "left-wing ideas are not healthy ideas."
In February 2012, a general assembly of the newspaper's journalists adopted a motion accusing the paper's managing editor, Étienne Mougeotte, of having made Le Figaro into the "bulletin" of the governing party, the Union for a Popular Movement, of the government and of President Nicolas Sarkozy. They requested more pluralism and "honesty" rather than one-sided political reporting. Mougeotte had previously said that Le Figaro would do nothing to embarrass the government and the right. Mougeotte publicly replied: "Our editorial line pleases our readers as it is, it works. I don't see why I should change it. [...] We are a right-wing newspaper and we express it clearly, by the way. Our readers know it, our journalists too. There's nothing new to that!"
- Le Figaro (French Newspaper), Encyclopædia Britannica
- "Le Monde, whose print edition comes out around lunchtime, was launched at the end of Nazi occupation of France in 1944 and took on the role of France's newspaper of record alongside the more conservative Le Figaro." - France's Le Monde newspaper editor quits after power struggle with staff, Reuters, May the 14th, 2014
- "Strauss-Kahn arrest impacts on French election". The Independent. 16 May 2011.
- Le Figaro opts for freemium web model, The Guardian
- The press in France, BBC News
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- Sarah Sissmann and Christophe Barbier, "Une épouse outragée", L'Express, 30 August 2004. Retrieved 27 January 2007.
- Janet Flanner (3 May 1930),"Perfume and Politics", The New Yorker. Republished 7 May 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2007.
- "Deposit Your Gold for France. Gold Fights for Victory". World Digital Library. 1915. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- "Mon Figaro - Cercle - Le Figaro in English - articles". Le Figaro. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "Mon Figaro - This Week's Top Stories from France". Le Figaro. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "Dassault se sépare d'Yves de Chaisemartin", Le Figaro, 1 October 2004. Retrieved 27 January 2007.
- "M. Dassault veut une presse aux « idées saines »", Le Monde, 12 December 2004. Retrieved 27 January 2007.
- ""Le Figaro" n'est pas "le bulletin d'un parti"", Le Monde, 9 February 2012
- "La question du jour. "Le Figaro" est-il un journal d'opinion ou un "bulletin" de l'UMP?", Le Nouvel Observateur, 10 February 2012
- "Présidentielle : les journalistes du Figaro réclament un journal plus « honnête »", Rue89, 9 February 2012
- ""Le Figaro" : Mougeotte répond aux critiques de ses journalistes", Le Nouvel Observateur, 10 February 2012
- "The impact of blasphemy laws on human Rights" (Policy Brief). Freedom House. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Tunisia, Egypt ban newspaper editions on controversy over pope’s comments". CPJ. New York. 27 September 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- Media Policy: Convergence, Concentration & Commerce. SAGE Publications. 24 September 1998. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-4462-6524-6. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- Le Figaro website (French)
- Le Figaro digital archives from 1826 to 1942 in Gallica, the digital library of the BnF